"I hate when people misinterpret what I do," veteran tattoo artist Peter Koskela, the man behind Brown's latest piece of body art, exclusively tells E! News. "It was really a blow to me to think that people would think so little of a person that I would actually put a picture of a beaten woman on his neck. That was crazy to me, that he would come to me and say, 'Hey, I want Rihanna's face on me.'"
Well, it sounds especially absurd when he puts it that way.
"I would never promote any kind of domestic violence like that," Koskela continued. "Even if he asked me to do it, I would have bounced right there. I don't do racist tattoos, I don't do gang-related tattoos and I don't do anything hurtful. That is just the motto I live by. The other tattoo artists might, but I just don't."
As soon as the eyebrows started arching in response to Brown's new tat, the R&B star—who shared a friendly smooch with Rihanna in the middle of the MTV Video Music Awards just last week—immediately quashed the speculation that the meme-inspiring face on his neck was an image of his ex-girlfriend.
"His tattoo is a sugar skull (associated with the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead) and a M.A.C cosmetics design he saw. It is not Rihanna or an abused woman as erroneously reported. It is peeling right now," Brown's rep explained.
"The dude is serious about his art," Koskela, who drew the face Aug. 30, says of his repeat client. "When something inspires him, he wants it somewhere on his body, but he never said why he wanted to get that particular piece."
"When I did see the picture [of Brown in Vegas] and his head was cocked to the side, it did look like it was rough around the edges," the artist admitted, referring to the image that got tongues wagging. "People thought it was a beat-up face, but it takes two weeks to heal because the neck is constantly moving."
Koskela, who says he has also tattooed the other side of Brown's neck in addition to a snake on his right shoulder blade and the bandit under his left arm, tells us that he has only seen the F.A.M.E. artist with his current girlfriend, Karrueche Tran.
Rihanna "never comes up at all," he says.